Paul Krugman at The New York Times in The Twinkie Manifesto:
[T]he demise of Hostess has unleashed a wave of baby boomer nostalgia for a seemingly more innocent time.E.J. Dionne Jr. at the Washington Post writes about Obama and the end of decline. He seems to be expecting an awful lot from the president in the healing-the-nation's-divisions department in his column:
Needless to say, it wasn’t really innocent. But the ’50s—the Twinkie Era—do offer lessons that remain relevant in the 21st century. Above all, the success of the postwar American economy demonstrates that, contrary to today’s conservative orthodoxy, you can have prosperity without demeaning workers and coddling the rich.
Across ideological lines, Americans stuck in this downward spiral experience decline not as an abstract issue but as a reality in their own lives. They ask why it is that the country seemed to do a better job of spreading opportunity around 40 years ago than it does now.Successes in half those arenas, successes that truly improve the lives of those who most need them, would have a lot of Americans clamoring for repeal of the 22nd Amendment.
Speeding the general economic recovery will solve some of these problems, but Obama needs an unapologetically large and unified program of economic uplift, including policies on taxes, education, training and infrastructure investment. He should also look to how new approaches to innovation, unionization, immigration, trade, research and science can contribute to both growth and justice.
Obama has already talked about elements of such a program but he needs to go bigger, pull the pieces together and make the New Prosperity the central objective of his second term.
Russ Douthat at The New York Times, on the other hand, in The Liberal Gloat, thinks the euphoric Schadenfreude of liberals following the election two weeks ago is pretty awful since, he implies, it is founded on American decline, not progress.
Greg Mitchell at The Nation writes My Son, Age 25, Has Never Been Around for a Cooler-Than-Average Month:
Here’s hoping that changes—before he’s my age. If it takes that long, I guess he will not be living in LA but far in the interior as the ocean covers the coast. Hollywood in Vegas?Leonard Pitts, Jr. at The Baltimore Sun sums up The sad state of zealots with microphones and takes a bite out of them:
America, you are an idiot.Michael Kinsley at the Miami Herald in The media’s scandalous polling conspiracy is a little late to the obvious conclusion that the "entire drama of a close election, as played out in the news media on Election Day and evening, is basically fake."
You are a moocher, a zombie, soulless, mouth-breathing, ignorant, greedy, self-indulgent, envious, shallow and lazy.
The foregoing is a summation of "analysis" from conservative pundits and media figures—Cal Thomas, Ted Nugent, Bill O'Reilly, et cetera—seeking to explain Mitt Romney's emphatic defeat. They seem to have settled on a strategy of blaming the voters for not being smart enough or good enough to vote as they should have. Because America wasn't smart enough or good enough, say these conservatives, it shredded the Constitution, bear-hugged chaos, French-kissed socialism, and died.
Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed at The Independent writes in Fracking: A new dawn for misplaced optimism that shale gas isn't quite the boon some industry shills make it out to be:
US energy consultants Ruud Weijermars and Crispian McCredie say there is strong "basis for reasonable doubts about the reliability and durability of US shale gas reserves." The New York Times found that state geologists, industry lawyers and market analysts privately questioned "whether companies are intentionally, and even illegally, overstating the productivity of their wells and the size of their reserves." And former UK chief government scientist Sir David King has concluded that the industry had overstated world oil reserves by about a third. In Nature, he dismissed notions that a shale gas boom would avert an energy crisis, noting that production at wells drops by as much as 90 per cent within the first year.Gail Collins at The New York Times writes Anybody Notice a Pattern?:
Romney supporters couldn’t believe that they had lost fairly. The Maine Republican chairman was breathlessly reporting that “dozens, dozens of black people” had mysteriously shown up to vote in rural areas.Nate Cohn at The New Republic writes For the GOP, It's Colorado or Bust by 2016:
Now things are calmer—perhaps because, if they want to, Republicans can just blame everything on Romney’s poor campaign skills. Really terrible skills! Maybe the worst presidential candidate in American history! Well, possibly not worse than Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, who got only 8 percent of the electoral vote against Thomas Jefferson. But Thomas Jefferson had the Louisiana Purchase. If Barack Obama had bought Manitoba, Republicans would have understood his winning.
And actually not quite as bad as John McCain, who got fewer electoral votes when he lost in 2008 than Romney just got.
Perhaps no state captures the challenges facing Republicans better than Colorado. The changes in the composition of the two parties over the last decade have almost exclusively worked to the advantage of Democrats in Colorado, who reap the benefits of a growing Hispanic population and gains among well-educated, socially moderate suburbanites without suffering the losses among white Southern and Appalachian voters that cut against their gains in Florida, Ohio, Virginia, and Pennsylvania. As a result, Colorado voted slightly more for the president over the last two elections than the nation as a whole, even though the state leaned Republican in all but one presidential election since 1948.Aaron Belkin at the New York Daily News writes in The last taboo: American power that the focus on the salacious scandal surrounding Gen. David Petraeus, his jealous mistress, the Tampa socialite and the shirtless FBI agent hides more than it reveals:
The story that should have captured our attention long ago is Petraeus’ central role in a series of high-stakes policies—among them escalating the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, converting the CIA into a paramilitary organization and killing people with drones without any due process. The general-turned-CIA agent is an emblem of American military spending—and of our often haphazard use of power around the world.Chris Lehmann at In These Times notes Weak Teavangelicals that 94-year-old Billy Graham's ad campaign to protect "traditional marriage" just didn't take this year. A fluke? Or a sign of the times :
Long-term trends in opinion polling suggest that the evangelical Right would have been hard-pressed to repeat the Kulturkampf clamor to the ballot box that Reed famously engineered to help George W. Bush over the top in 2004. [...]Elizabeth DiNovella at The Progressive says in Walker Takes Leadership Position at Republican Governors Association that more attention should be paid to the RGA because it has played a major role not only in keeping Scott Walker in office in Wisconsin but in the elections of 2010 and 2012 that now gives the GOP a 30-20 edge in governorships.
In a survey released this September by the Washington-based non-profit Public Religion Research Institute, white working-class Americans—i.e., wage-earning workers without a four-year college diploma, who are the traditional recruiting corps for evangelical political leaders—voiced a striking disinterest in the culture wars. Just one in 20 of the respondents to the Institute’s national phone survey reported that “either abortion (3 percent) or same-sex marriage (2 percent) is the most important issue to their vote,” while 53 percent cited the economy. And drilling down on matters of economic policy, the poll found that “white working-class Americans display a strong strain of economic populism.”